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August - September 2007

Dispatches & Reports

Dispatches & Reports



Six professionals from the world of architecture and building will be hitting the road this month as SPAB’s (The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings) 2007 Scholars and William Morris Craft Fellows set out on the Society’s prestigious annual training schemes. The two groups will travel the length and breadth of the country to gain first hand experience of conservation skills and crafts.

Architects Nikhil Joshi, Chloe Maher and Amanda White have been selected as the 2007 SPAB Scholars, while stone conservator Simon Ebbs, plasterer Gail Haddow and carpenter/framer Gabriel Langlands are this year’s William Morris Craft Fellows. The two award schemes have no parallel in the world of conservation.

The Scholarship is awarded annually to up to four young architects, building surveyors or structural engineers who have completed their college-based training and have a demonstrable enthusiasm for historic building conservation. A great deal of travel is involved as the Scholars meet fellow architects and craftspeople working on historic sites and in workshops and studios throughout the British Isles. In addition they take part in work in progress to gain direct experience guided by experts in the field. After spending the first six months as a close-knit group, the scholars take individual paths for the last three months of the programme, developing and exploring their own specific areas of architectural interest.

Meanwhile the Fellows trace a similar route, concentrating on the practical craft skills needed to repair and maintain significant old buildings. The 2007 group will now embark on a six-month schedule travelling the length and breadth of the country to learn more about traditional crafts from skilled men and women who have already established careers in the field. The aim is to provide a grounding in a wide range of traditional skills to help them bring a strong awareness of craft diversity to their future professional roles. Fellows also have the opportunity to develop their own particular craft skill to new levels of excellence. The course of practical training is divided into three blocks of two months, enabling them to return to their employment in between each block.

Craftsmen and women from any trade employed in the repair of historic buildings on site or in workshops and studios may apply for the Fellowship. Candidates must have completed their apprenticeships and demonstrate a high degree of competence. Fellows are usually in their 20s or 30s, but older candidates are not excluded.

Former SPAB scholars are today among the UK’s leading conservation experts, caring for many of the most significant buildings in Britain – some are cathedral architects, some look after palaces, National Trust houses and English Heritage sites. Marianne Suhr and Ptolemy Dean, the expert co-presenters of BBC’s hugely successful Restoration programme are both former SPAB Scholars.

Nationally, heritage bodies are expressing concern that there are simply not enough people currently training to continue distinctive crafts such as stone masonry, traditional tiling and slating, thatching, stained glass and carpentry and joinery. Since 1986 SPAB has organised the unique William Morris Craft Fellowship to promote and support these very specialised skills and to create a new generation of outstanding craftsmen and women with the knowledge and expertise to pass these crafts on. Many former fellows have risen to positions of great responsibility where they are able to impart their knowledge, expertise and enthusiasm to other crafts workers.

SPAB is convinced that the best way to learn about construction methods, materials and the range of repair methods available today is out on site. Philip Venning, Secretary of The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings says: “The SPAB Scholarships and William Morris Craft Fellowships are very special. Quite simply, they are unique. It has been very gratifying to see former scholars and fellows going on to take up significant roles and positions, spreading the message of the importance of good conservation. We are confident that our 2007 scholars and fellows will enjoy equal success and satisfaction.”

For more information contact Kate Griffin, SPAB press office: 0207 456 0905 (Mon/Tues/Weds) email:

SPAB is Britain’s oldest building conservation body. It was set up by William Morris to oppose the destructive restorations of the Victorian era and promote the alternative of “conservative repair”. By law it must be notified of applications to demolish listed buildings in England and Wales and comments on hundreds each year. Today its broad remit is to advise, educate and campaign. The Society also trains architects and craftsmen; produces a range of helpful publications and campaigns on issues like VAT. It also has a separate section devoted to Mills.

For more information about SPAB, courses, advice and other publications go to


Education: University of Pune, India (1996-2001)The King’s Manor, University of York (2003-4)

Qualifications: BArch. 2001. MA in Conservation Studies (Historic Buildings) 2004

Employment: Born in Delhi, Nikhil had travelled widely in India before he decided to study architecture. He decided to come to the UK in 2003 to study conservation at postgraduate level attending the York course, which he regards as the most fruitful year of his life. His dissertation looked at corrugated iron clad buildings and in particular at a small schoolroom in Farnham in Surrey. His dissertation became a personal and practical challenge when he campaigned for funds, and then recorded the little building before it was moved to the Rural Life Centre in Farnham. Since his MA he worked for Potts Parry Ives & Young, in York, for fourteen months, and then came down to London to work for CZWG Architects for seven months. Since August 2006 he has been working for Carden & Godfrey.

Yoga and Pilates Workshop Day with Birt and Tang's Ginger and Detox Teas

We at Birt and Tang take our tea drinking very seriously. We passionately believe in our product and enjoy a healthy lifestyle that compliments our teas. We’ve got together with some of the UK’s most celebrated Yoga teachers and therapists to host a series of workshops designed to help you get the most from the beneficial properties of our teas. These workshops are FREE events and a gift to our customers. Each day is designed to be informative and enjoyable, giving participants the chance to do some light, fun exercise in the safe hands of our therapists, whilst sampling our tasty teas. The days are themed around our products, giving you a choice of areas to focus on, whether you wish to Detox, Relax or Energise we have a workshop carefully created, like our teas, just for you!

Detox and Relaxation Day with Birt and Tang Detox and Relaxing Tea Blends

Date: Sunday 16th September, 11am – 5pm

Venue: Special Yoga Centre, The First Floor, The Tay Building, 2a Wrentham Avenue, London NW10 3HA

Places available: 35

Join Birt and Tang for a day long workshop combining yoga and massage techniques with the healing properties of ancient Chinese medicine found in Birt and Tangs herbal teas.

After sampling Birt and Tangs Detox tea, your morning will be spent cleansing your system of toxins through exercise and breathing with yoga teacher Tim Cummin practicing a dynamic and meditative form of yoga called Shadow Yoga (a combination of the Eastern art of Chi Gung and Hatha yoga).

A light and healthy detox lunch will be provided after your session with some time to relax and enjoy a sample of Birt and Tangs Relaxing tea before joining Siva Rajah of the Thai Yoga school of massage for an afternoon practicing Thai Yoga massage techniques to truly relax and unwind.

The use of Birt and Tang teas combined with light physical exercise specifically designed to compliment the action of the teas, ensure participants will have all the tools and techniques to take away with them after the workshop to cleanse their systems and relax at the end of a long day.

Yoga and Pilates Workshop Day with Birt and Tang's Ginger and Detox Teas

Date: Sunday November 18th 11am–5pm

Venue: Special Yoga Centre, The First Floor The Tay Building, 2a Wrentham Avenue, London NW10 3HA

Places available: 35

A day to internally cleanse and strengthen your core. Join us for a Yoga and Pilates workshop day with Birt and Tang's Ginger and Detox teas. Join Birt and Tang for a day focusing on cleansing and strengthening your digestive system and core muscles to promote maximum health, well being and energy. A healthy digestive system, good breathing and strong internal muscle function is the key to all round good health.

After an energising cup of Birt and Tang's Ginger tea, Pilates teacher Liz Kalozci from the Bliss Yoga and Pilates studio will be taking you through a series of Pilates exercises during the morning session designed to tone and strengthen your pelvic floor, stomach and abdominal muscles.

A healthy detox lunch will be provided, followed by more Ginger tea to aid digestion. Birt and Tang's Ginger tea is specially formulated to settle the stomach, clean the digestive tract and boost metabolic function. After a short break you'll join Scaravelli inspired yoga teacher Marc Woolford for a deep but relaxing yoga session, incorporating breath work and awareness in posture, to release tension and cleanse the system of toxins. Before you leave you'll enjoy a cup of Birt and Tang Detox tea and receive a free sample to take away with you.

The combination of Birt and Tang's herbal tea blends and gentle physical exercise will cleanse & activate your digestive system ensuring continued effective function.

So come and infuse yourself... Have a cuppa on us and enjoy a combination of Yoga, Music & Massage at one of our workshops this year.

Places are limited so please book early to avoid disappointment. To reserve your place send an email to

Hindu recalls her ordeal in Islamic

Ethnic Indian Was Detained For Renouncing Islam In Malaysia

Shah Alam: A Malaysian woman on Friday accused Islamic religious police of intimidation and mental torture during her six-month detention for renouncing Islam in favour of Hinduism.

Massosai Revathi "It was a prison. They placed me in a solitary confinement," Massosai Revathi, an ethnic Indian, said a day after she was freed from a state-run Islamic counselling centre. "Although I served 180 days, I still cannot convert out of Islam," said Revathi, 29. "I wasted my time."

Her case highlighted another strain in the fabric of race and religious relations in multiethnic Malaysia. Last month, dozens of people campaigning for freedom of religion held a candlelight vigil to protest against her detention.

In May, the country's best known Christian convert, Lina Joy, lost a battle in Malaysia's highest court to have the word "Islam" removed from her identity card. In delivering judgment in that case, the federal court's chief justice said the issue of apostasy was related to Islamic law, and civil courts could not intervene.

In practice, sharia courts do not allow Muslims to formally renounce Islam, preferring to send apostates to counselling and, ultimately, fining or jailing them if they refuse to desist. Such people often end up in legal limbo, unable to register their new religious affiliations or legally marry non-Muslims.

Revathi was born to a Indian Hindu family, which converted to Islam before her birth. Although given the Muslim name of Siti Fatimah Karim, she said she was raised as a Hindu by her grandmother. She married a Hindu in 2004 according to Hindu rites.

Revathi was freed on Thursday, a day before the hearing of her husband's application for her release was due to begin. A civil court judge on Friday threw out the application since she had been released.

She said: "They asked me to be a Muslim and they threatened to send my daughter to a welfare home if I defied them," she said. "They also served me beef, knowing I don't take beef as a Hindu." REUTERS

Graduates blessed with Gita shlokas at University of Nevada:

Sanskrit shlokas (verses) reverberated at the Second Annual Interfaith Baccalaureate Service of University of Nevada-Reno (UNR) here today.

Rajan Zed, Director of Interfaith Relations of Hindu Temple of Northern Nevada and a Hindu chaplain, blessed the graduating students with verses from Bhagavad-Gita, which forms the cornerstone of the Hindu faith, dated around 300 BCE.

While reading from Chapter 13 (…adhyatmajnananityatvam tattvajnanarthadarsanam, etajjnanamiti proktamajnanam yadatonyatha…), he defined knowledge as, “humility, tolerance, simplicity, self-control, absence of false ego, detachment, search for Absolute Truth…”.

He further read verse 39 of Chapter four (sraddhavallabhate jnanam tatparah samyatendriyah, jnanam labdhva param santimacirenadhigacchati), which translates as, “Those who take wisdom as their highest goal, whose faith is deep and whose senses are trained, attain wisdom quickly and enter into perfect peace.”

Zed concluded his prayers by chanting “Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti”, which translates as “Peace, Peace, Peace be unto all”, and the audience repeated after him.

Many 2007 graduates, family and friends of the 2007 class, and others attended the Service, which in addition to Hinduism, also included hymns, readings from scriptures, blessings, teachings, music, prayers, etc., from various religious traditions including Protestant, Catholic, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, and Bahai, mirroring the world citizenship of UNR community.

Besides Rajan Zed, other members of the Service Coordination Committee, which organized the event, included Rev. Chuck Durante, Pastor of Our Lady of Wisdom University Catholic Community; and Rev. Ruth Hanusa of Campus Christian Association. Most Reverend Randolph R. Calvo, Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Reno, blessed the graduates on the occasion, while local Imam, Abdul Barghouti, delivered an address. Special interfaith certificates, with “Om” and other symbols of major world religions inscribed on those, were presented to the graduates on the occasion by Zed and Hanusa.

In recent years, there has been an increased attention to diversity and consciousness of the world’s faith traditions. There is revived interest in baccalaureate services in number of educational institutions across the country like Yale, Brown, Cornell, Emory, Howard, Occidental, etc. In use since at least eighth century, origins of the baccalaureate service point to an Oxford University statute of 1432, which required each bachelor to deliver a sermon in Latin as part of the academic exercise.

Rajan Zed states that although UNR faculty, students, and staff belong to various backgrounds, come from various places, and observe different faith traditions, yet they work in amity and shared respect, tied together with a pursuit for scholarship and intellect. They establish and maintain a sense of fellowship, kindliness and responsibility, and all religions are instilled with acceptance, mercy, love, and kindheartedness.

In the atmosphere of growing faith pluralism, the interfaith baccalaureate provides the students and others involved with an environment for divine contemplation that meets the requirements of the society. It refers to spiritual observance that celebrates achievement besides being an occasion of thanksgiving, Zed adds.

Baccalaureate service basically means service where a sermon is delivered to the graduating class. The first documented baccalaureate service at UNR was said to be in 1917, with six others organized randomly over the last century. The last chronicled service was in 1960 and last May, first interfaith baccalaureate service was held.

Cobra Beer Names Former Beam MD Adrian McKeon New CEO

- Lord Bilimoria to Remain Actively Involved as Executive Chairman -

London, UK – Cobra Beer has announced the appointment of Adrian McKeon as their new Chief Executive. In a move aimed at further strengthening the brand’s management team, McKeon, formerly UK Managing Director of Beam Global Spirits & Wine, will take up his post in August, with Lord Karan Bilimoria, founder of Cobra Beer moving to the role of Executive Chairman.

Adrian McKeon commented: “Cobra is a very dynamic young company and I see this as a tremendous and exciting challenge. I am pleased to have the opportunity to join Cobra Beer, to help push the company forward in the years to come, and to build upon the great work that Karan and the team have already achieved.”

McKeon has previously worked at boardroom level at Constellation Brands and subsequently was appointed Managing Director of Allied Domecq Wines. McKeon then spent two years in his most recent role of UK Managing Director of Beam Global Spirits & Wine where within the first 18 months he grew the organisation’s profits by 26% following their acquisition of Allied Domecq brands.

Lord Bilimoria added: “I am delighted that Adrian will be joining Cobra as our new Chief Executive. He will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience of the global drinks market to our management team, and having him on board can only help us reach even greater heights. I have always said that a Chief Executive should be an all-rounder, and I know that Adrian will bring a range of abilities to Cobra Beer”. He went on to add: “I greatly look forward to working with Adrian and to providing strategic guidance from the position of Executive Chairman. I have given this decision a great deal of thought, and will remain very active in the company and continue to dedicate myself to driving Cobra forward”.

Cobra Beer celebrated a record year in 2006 as sales across all its markets rocketed. Having raised over £27 million pounds investment last summer and successfully run their biggest-ever TV advertising campaign – The Lift – throughout the autumn, overall sales figures were up by 65% year-on-year and group retail value turnover has reached approximately £126 million pounds over the last 12 months to May 2007.

During the past few years, Cobra has placed great emphasis on new product development and has successfully added Cobra 0.0% alcohol-free, Cobra Lower Cal, King Cobra and most recently, the Cobra Bite range of fruit-flavoured lagers. In this period Cobra has also taken its communications and sales development in-house as part of a robust restructuring programme.

Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association responds to Rushdie Knighthood

Hadrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad urges Muslims not to paint the wrong picture of Islam

In his Friday Sermon of 22 June 2007, His Holiness, Hadrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association has stated that Muslims who react to the Knighthood of Mr Salman Rushdie by justifying suicide bombing or condoning other such responses were in fact responsible for the wholly incorrect portrayal of the teachings of Islam.

His Holiness further commented that Rushdie s abuse directed towards Islam, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), God and His Angels, was such that if any Government now wished to bestow upon him an award or title then that issue was now between them and God Almighty.

However, His Holiness went on to say that it could not be said that all European people approve of this act. The goodness and honour of many people continues to shine through. Indeed many Western people, including people in England have expressed their grievance concerning this award. Even Members of Parliament have acknowledged that the award of a Knighthood to Mr Rushdie has no use except for adversely affecting the peace and harmony of the world.

Earlier in his Sermon, His Holiness addressed the need for the promotion of a peaceful society. In this regard he stated that each person has a duty to guard and cater for the feelings and emotions of others.

# In this regard His Holiness related a tradition of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in which he said One should not abuse his fathers . Upon hearing this, a companion of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) enquired Who is it who abuses their fathers? The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) replied, When you abuse someone else s father they will abuse yours . His Holiness commented that if this Islamic teaching was practised then peace would duly spread throughout the world.

His Holiness has instructed that the book Rushdie: Haunted by his Unholy Ghost , authored by Mr Arshad Ahmedi (upon the instruction and guidance of the (late) Fourth Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association) be updated and re-printed. This book conclusively refutes all points wrongfully asserted by Mr Rushdie in relation to Islam.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Association has prospered throughout the world expounding and practising its motto Love for All, Hatred for None .

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